Students from 81 public and independent schools have shared the honours at the HSC First in Course awards.
Selective schools and high-fee paying, all-girls schools have dominated the 2015 HSC results, an analysis of NSW Board of Studies data shows.
James Ruse Agricultural High School was the top performing school, as it has been for more than two decades, with 74 per cent of all exams taken by students scoring in the highest possible range, a Band 6 or above.
James Ruse was followed by selective schools North Sydney Girls, Sydney Girls, North Sydney Boys and Sydney Boys in the next four places.
Abbotsleigh, on Sydney’s north shore, took the top independent schools spot with 9th place in the overall ranking, leading a pack of all-girls independent schools that rounded out the top 20.
Sydney Grammar, the 10th ranked school, had a 45 per cent Band 6 success rate.
Eastern suburbs schools Ascham, Kambala and SCEGGS Darlinghurst took out 11th, 12th and 13th spots respectively.
Kambala was the biggest mover of the trio, rocketing into the top 20 this year by jumping 27 places, according to Fairfax Media’s data analysis.
All-boys independent schools did not fare as well, with only Sydney Grammar making the top 20.
Willoughby Girls was the only fully comprehensive public school to crack the top 50, coming in at number 49.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli would not comment on the performance of particular sectors or schools on Tuesday.
“It’s an incredible array of students, a great snapshot of schools in Australia and NSW but a great reflection on the significant talent that we have in this state,” Mr Piccoli said.
“We encourage even high-performing schools like James Ruse to strive for more high-performing students.”
NSW Board of Studies president Tom Alegounarias said a record number of students completed the HSC in 2015.
More than 76,000 students received their HSC results on Wednesday, with the number achieving a top band result remaining stable at 10 per cent.
Of those students, 1300 were rewarded a Band 6 result across five subjects, making it onto the Board of Studies all-rounders list.
“That is a remarkable achievement,” said Mr Alegounarias.
He said there had been a 20 per cent increase in the number of students undertaking science courses for their final exams.
He urged those students who hadn’t reached their goals not to despair.
“What you need to understand is that the HSC has assessed your work to date, it hasn’t assessed your potential,” he said.
“I would say [to those who haven’t met their goals], have a look at your options, there’s more HSC available to you, there are other courses and interlinked pathways,” he said.
“Today’s a day where you think about the future and all its possibilities. The HSC really is preparation for life, it isn’t life itself.”
More than 55,000 students who are eligible for an ATAR will receive their university admission rank at 9am on Thursday.